Alice Elizabeth Malavasic: The Republic’s Need for Civility

Today we welcome a guest blog post from Alice Elizabeth Malavasic, author of The F Street Mess:  How Southern Senators Rewrote the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Pushing back against the idea that the Slave Power conspiracy was merely an ideological construction, The F Street Mess argues that some southern politicians in the 1850s did indeed hold an… Continue Reading Alice Elizabeth Malavasic: The Republic’s Need for Civility

Jessica Ziparo: Advice from the 1860s

Today we welcome a guest post from Jessica Ziparo, author of This Grand Experiment:  When Women Entered the Federal Workforce in Civil War–Era Washington, D.C. In the volatility of the Civil War, the federal government opened its payrolls to women. Thousands of female applicants from across the country flooded Washington with applications. In This Grand… Continue Reading Jessica Ziparo: Advice from the 1860s

Adam I. P. Smith: Who in Civil War America really believed in “States’ Rights”?

For our first post of the new year, we welcome a guest post from Adam I.P. Smith, author of The Stormy Present:  Conservatism and the Problem of Slavery in Northern Politics, 1846–1865. In The Stormy Present, an engaging and nuanced political history of Northern communities in the Civil War era, Adam I. P. Smith offers… Continue Reading Adam I. P. Smith: Who in Civil War America really believed in “States’ Rights”?

Adam I. P. Smith: The Conservatism of Revolution

Today we welcome a guest post from Adam I.P. Smith, author of The Stormy Present:  Conservatism and the Problem of Slavery in Northern Politics, 1846–1865. In The Stormy Present, an engaging and nuanced political history of Northern communities in the Civil War era, Adam I. P. Smith offers a new interpretation of the familiar story… Continue Reading Adam I. P. Smith: The Conservatism of Revolution

Michael D. Robinson: Reconsidering John Jordan Crittenden

Today, we welcome a guest post from Michael D. Robinson, author of A Union Indivisible:  Secession and the Politics of Slavery in the Border South. Many accounts of the secession crisis overlook the sharp political conflict that took place in the Border South states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri. In A Union Indivisible, Michael… Continue Reading Michael D. Robinson: Reconsidering John Jordan Crittenden

Michael D. Robinson: Where Was the Political Middle Ground during the Secession Crisis?

Today, we welcome a guest post from Michael D. Robinson, author of A Union Indivisible:  Secession and the Politics of Slavery in the Border South. Many accounts of the secession crisis overlook the sharp political conflict that took place in the Border South states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri. In A Union Indivisible, Michael… Continue Reading Michael D. Robinson: Where Was the Political Middle Ground during the Secession Crisis?

Battle of Gettysburg Field Guide

This second, updated edition of the acclaimed A Field Guide to Gettysburg will lead visitors to every important site across the battlefield and also give them ways to envision the action and empathize with the soldiers involved and the local people into whose lives and lands the battle intruded. Ideal for carrying on trips through the park as well as for the armchair historian, this book includes comprehensive maps and deft descriptions of the action that situate visitors in time and place. Continue Reading Battle of Gettysburg Field Guide

The History of Juneteenth: 5 Facts You Need to Know

Juneteenth is a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, given by President Abraham Lincoln, that declared freedom for all slaves in states still in rebellion. Continue Reading The History of Juneteenth: 5 Facts You Need to Know

K. Stephen Prince: Thinking about Reconstruction at 150 Years

Reconstruction remains one of the most widely misunderstood eras in United States history. Though historians have largely discredited the white supremacist interpretations of William A. Dunning and his students, the Dunning School lives on in the public at large. Otherwise informed and well-meaning individuals unthinkingly parrot early-twentieth-century critiques of Reconstruction, casually dismissing it as an era of federal overreach, northern cruelty, and cynical corruption. My own experience bears out this observation: a friend who claims that Reconstruction failed because it was “too harsh,” or a student who labels the period a “tragedy” without being able to provide a single reason for this characterization. I expect other scholars of the period have had similar experiences. It seems that on an instinctive, knee-jerk level, many Americans respond negatively to Reconstruction, though most could not explain why. The 150th anniversary of Reconstruction offers a perfect opportunity to set the record straight, or at least to give the public a fair accounting of the period’s challenges, its successes, and its failures. Continue Reading K. Stephen Prince: Thinking about Reconstruction at 150 Years

Excerpt: War on the Waters, by James M. McPherson

In this excerpt, McPherson discusses the blockade on the Confederacy and how if affected the definition of the Confederacy as insurrectionist or a legitimate nation. Continue Reading Excerpt: War on the Waters, by James M. McPherson

Video: Elizabeth Leonard talks to The Civil War Monitor

In this video, Elizabeth Leonard talks to the Civil War Monitor about Joseph Holt. She says Joseph Holt is “a very much forgotten personage from our historical past, and he’s someone who I think is probably the most important people from Lincoln’s administration who has been forgotten about.” Continue Reading Video: Elizabeth Leonard talks to The Civil War Monitor

Jason Morgan Ward: The Short Distance from Civil War to Civil Rights

This year marks two momentous and inseparable moments in the history of American race relations: the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides. That most commemorations of the former have neglected to mention the latter reveals a nagging reluctance to connect too directly the Civil War and the modern civil rights movement. But for white southerners in the mid-20th century, the link between Civil War and civil rights was crystal clear. Continue Reading Jason Morgan Ward: The Short Distance from Civil War to Civil Rights

James Marten: Not Just Fading Away: Civil War “Veteranizing”

For Civil War veterans, every day was Memorial Day. They refused to limit their own commemorations to one or two days per year. Continue Reading James Marten: Not Just Fading Away: Civil War “Veteranizing”

Remembering the Civil War with Confederate Hair

With April comes spring flowers, events marking the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, and, in states across the South, celebrations of Confederate History Month. But if you’re serious about your commemorations, why not buy some Confederate hair? Continue Reading Remembering the Civil War with Confederate Hair

Interview: Graham Russell Gao Hodges

David Ruggles (1810-1849) was one of the most heroic–and has been one of the most often overlooked–figures of the early abolitionist movement in America. Graham Russell Gao Hodges provides the first biography of this African American activist, writer, and publisher who secured liberty for more than six hundred former bond people, including Frederick Douglass. Hodges’s… Continue Reading Interview: Graham Russell Gao Hodges

‘Confederate Minds’ and the Page 99 Test

We’ve previously mentioned the “Page 99 Test,” with which one can “Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you,” according to Ford Madox Ford. Marshal Zeringue edits a blog that follows this theme, asking authors to test their books and analyze the content based… Continue Reading ‘Confederate Minds’ and the Page 99 Test

The starting lineup for The Journal of the Civil War Era

Back in April we mentioned a call for papers for the inaugural edition of The Journal of the Civil War Era, a peer-review journal published in collaboration with UNC Press and the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at Pennsylvania State University. There’s been great response, and the issues are starting to take… Continue Reading The starting lineup for The Journal of the Civil War Era

Sutherland Wins Inaugural Tom Watson Brown Book Award

We know, we know. Winning isn’t everything, but we have to admit, it sure does feel good!  Author Daniel Sutherland was awarded the first ever Tom Watson Brown Book Award, a $50,000 prize, by the Society of Civil War Historians, for his book A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War. The… Continue Reading Sutherland Wins Inaugural Tom Watson Brown Book Award

Interview: Victoria E. Bynum

Each month on the UNC Press homepage, we feature a handful of interviews with authors. I’d like to bring them over and share them with you blog readers because they’re so often just fun and interesting. I want to start by introducing Victoria E. Bynum, author of three books with us, including, most recently, The… Continue Reading Interview: Victoria E. Bynum

Lincoln’s Legacy

Though the American Civil War was a multi-year event, spanning four years of death and destruction, it seems to be most tied to the month of April. The cruel month was host to the first battle of the war, at Fort Sumter, as well as the Confederate surrender at Appomattox in 1865. However, the most… Continue Reading Lincoln’s Legacy